Notes for Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir: History of the Gaines Surnname
The name Gaines is said to have had its origin in Wales. The story begins with David-ap-Lllewellyn, a courageous soldier, who was mortally wounded on the battlefield in 1415, while saving the life of King Henry V. Just before David's death, he was knighted by the king. David had a squint eye and it was with the term indicating the squint eye that he was knighted. David-ap-Lllewellyn became Sir David Gam.
Descendants of David Gam made changes and the name became Games and still later Ganes, Gaynes and Gaines.
Owen Glyndwr, standing in front of the mansion of his enemy and would-be murderer, Dafydd Gam, turned to Gam's bailiff, also looking on, and addressed him in an englyn (stanza), of which the above is a translation. The hero of Wales now was Glyndwr, and it seemed as if indeed he would soon be the King of Gwalia. He had called to-gether his Parliament at Machynlleth in 1402--Four men from each "Cantrev," or "cwmwd" (an old district division of Wales)-- to consider his plans for the future. Among the Welchmen who attended, one came with a traitor's purpose--Dafydd Gam, a landowner near Brecon, in whose family were some famous warriors. His great-grandfather had fought at Crecy and Poictiers, In France, in 1346 and 1356, respectively. "Gam," in Welsh, means "crooked," and the name seems to have been given to this man from a "squint," or "cast," in his eye. He was a native of Breconshire, whose ancestors appear to have been wealthy, and supporters of the Kings of England. The date of is birth cannot be decided: but he was about sixty years of age at the Battle of Agincourt (France) in 1415. His name in Full was Dafydd ap Llewelyn ap Howel otherwise known as Dafydd Gam, or "Squint-eyed David." From his extensive lands and wealth, he is also known as the squire of Breconshire. In his veins, was Norman and Welsh blood, and we are glad to state this for his cruel nature and unpatriotic spirit, make every true Cymro regret, that one of their kinsmen whould have been a traitor and a murderer. Dafydd was a short, but very strong man, long-armed, with red hair, and a cast in his eye. His fiery temper and brutal spirit caused him to murder, in the strees of Brecon, his countryman: Richard, Lord of Slwch. For this, he had to excape out of the country, and he was recieved into the household of John of Gaunt, where Henry Bolingbroke, afterwards Henry IV, and he became fast friends. While he was here, it is probable, that these two met Owen Glyndwr, who at one time had been esquire to Bolingbroke, against whom he fought so long. When Sir Dafydd Gam was in Breconshire he held his lands under Henry IV, who was Earl of Hereford and Lord of Brecon: hence he became one of the "King's men". He was one of the most daring men of the day, and like a lion in bravery, but in Owen Glyndwr he had his match. The certain death to which Gam exposed himself, in his plot at Machynlleth, shows his fearless heart: and if his spirt were directed along honourable line, he would be placed in the front rank of the heroes of our nation. The foul plot however, failed. Gam got into the trap himself, he was seized, and doomed to the cruel fate which the nature of the crime deserved. His life would have been taken, only Owen's friends pleaded hard for the prisoner, and, instead of the gallows, he was kept in prison for ten yers. This was perhaps a more severe torture to a man for his spirit than death. The King, Henry IV, at last paid a heavy ransom for the liberty of his squire, and upon promising to lay down all arms againts Owen, Dafydd Gam was once more a free man.
Lady Gwladys, daughter of Sir David Gam, and widow of Sir Roger Vaughan, of Bredwardine, became the second of wife of Sir William ap Thomas, the ancestor of all the noble families the Herberts: in Saint Mary's Church, Abergavenny, is an alsbaster altar, richly wrought, and supporting effigies of Sir William (who died in 1446) and of the Lady Gwladys (who died in 1454). Here, perhaps a few words about Sir David, "our great county hero"- and Shakespeare's "Fluellen" in "Henry IV," will not be out of place. "Fluellen," says Hazlitt, "is the most entertaining character in the piece. He is good-natured, brave, choleric, and pedantic." David Llewellyn, or Dafydd ap Llewellyn, generally called David Gam, was the fourth in descent from Einion Sais (or "The Englishman"), and inherited the estate and castle called after his ancestor "Castell Einion Sais," with Gam made his chief dwelling. It is said he slew Richard Fawr, Lord of Slwch, in an unhappy quarrel in the High street of Brecknock (today Brecon), in the time of King Richard II, for which (says Hugh Thomas) "he was obliged to leave the country and enter into the service of the House of Lancaster, and to which he ever after proved very faithful." He was contemporary with Owen Glyndwr, and when he found his forces unable to oppose Glyndwr, went as one of the Barons of Wales to a council called by the said Owen with no other intent than that of slaying him and so rid the country of its common disurber." The plot, however, was discovered, and Sir David Gam, only for the intercession of some of Glyndwr's best friend, would inevitabley have been strung up; he was detained in prison in Machynlleth, and afterwards liberated on parole, from whence he found his way "to England, and honourably received by King Henry IV, and constituted one of his captains against Owen Glyndwr." In the meantime Owen destroyed Gam's, paternal residence, the Castle of Poytins, and adds our manuscript authority, "I presume that of Einion Sais, which was never re-built, though it is in the possession of this family to this day"  After the death of Henry IV, Sir David "faithfully served his son (Henry V.) with a gallant band of Welshman under his command in the wars in France, and behaved with invincible courage. The French prided themselves on their numbers, while the English were dejected through their want of men. Sir David was sent to take a view of the enemy's army; he being asked after his return what news he had, undauntedly told the king: "may it please your Majesty,-and which words he delievered with such grace that notwithstanding his age and deformity the king read victory in his countenance, nor was he deceived in his expectations. Sir David Gam behaved with so much courage at this battle of Agincourt, that he slew the Duke of Nevers and with his own hand, and as a trophy of his victory bore away his arms, which ever after were used by his successors. After the battle, the news was brough to the the king that Gam was on the point of death, and thus he commanded Sir Thomas Erpingham- "Now lead me where he lieth, and these French dukes shall see, in the death I can reward the man who bravely fights for me." After the battle Sir David was knighted as a prelude to the greater honours, but he sood died of this wounds, some say on the battlefield, but at all events in the the year 1415. Evidently in Hugh Thomas's day the charitable inhabitants of Brecknock looked upon David Gam as a hero, but in these degenerate times the brave old has been pulled off his pedestal, called "traitor," and rolled in the dirt of modern criticism. "To save the king he gave his life, What could he then do more " Gam's friendship for his king was certainly genuine.
"Sir David Gam" hence, then, it appears, that one of Peytyns at least was in the possessions of this family long prior to the birth of Lleweyn, who therefore must either have purchased the Peytyns from one of his own relations, or else if any one of the descendants of Sir Richard Peyton sold them, he must have taken a Welsh name and had long lost his Norman appellation: be this as it may, David ap Llewelyn, though the third son of the purchaser, certainly resided during the early part of his life at Peytyn Gwin: the precise year of his birth cannot be ascertained. Pennant says his competitor Glyndwr was born in 1350: Sir David was probably some years his junior, or he would have been of two advanced a period in life to have appeared as a warrior at Agincourt in 1415, when personal strength was of essential consequence in battle. At the same time it must be observed that it is probable he could not have been under fifty-five or sixty years of age at this memorable victory, for he had several children and even grandchildren at the time he embarked in the expedition to France. He was athletic in person, his hair red, and he squinted, from whence he was called Dafydd Gam. Cam generally mean crooked, but from long habit and a perversion of the language, when applied to the person it implies any defect in the limbs or features. Powel, in his "History of Wales," has taken care not only to record this deformity, but he wishes his readers to believe that nature has perpetuated it, and that all his family continue to squint to this day!! It is unnesessary to deny so absurd an assertion; from portraits of some of the family still remaining, it appears that so far from being distinguished by this unfortuntunate obliquity of vision, many of them were remarkably handsome and their features perfectly regular. It is however, not a little extraordinary that the Welsh should, in this instance, as they have in many others, seize upon this peculiarity, and preserve it as a memento in the family, of the imperfection of the person of their ancestor; yet thus it is perpetually, and while the common named of Morgan, Thomas, Gwilym, etc, are ringing the changes and shifting places continually, the names of Gwyn, Llwyd, Coch, Cam, fair, grey headed, red headed, squinting etc., remain steadily in the respective families to which they have been applied, as long as they remain. Nay, we have an instance where even a filty disease has conferred a surname which the descendants of the person afflicted seem to feel no anxiety or wish to conceal.
"ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE OWEN GLYN WR" Mr. Carte correctly observes that Sir David Gam held his estate of the honor Hereford, that he had long been in the service of Bolingbroke and was firmily attatched to his interest: when it is recollected that Henry the Fourth was earl of Hereford an lord of Brecon in the time of Sir David Gam, we shall not be at a loss to discover the motives which governed his political conduct, but the first public act of his life consigns to his memory a load of infamy, which his death will barely remove. Instead of attacking the enraged lion of Gwynedd in the field, instead of hurling defiance against his adversary, in audible language and in the open day, he came like a midnight assassin to the court of Glyndwr, and sought to serve his employer by removing a tr ublesome insurgent at the expense of his own character and future happiness. This iniquitous attempt was made in 1402, when Owen was holding his parliament at Machynlleth in Montgomeryshire. "At this meeting (says Mr. Pennant) he narrowly escaped assass nation. Amoung the chieftains who came to support his title was a gentleman called David Gam or the one eyed; his cause that he appeared at the assembly with the secret and treacherous resolution of murdering his prince and brother-in-law. Carte says he was instigated to it by Henry, but gives no authority; party zeal or hopes of reward, probably determined him to so nefarious a deed: he was a fit instrument for the purpose, a man of unshaken courage which was afterwards put to the proof, in the followin reign, at the battle of Agincourt. In this account there is too much truth, and the tale, unfortunately for fame of Sir David Gam, is too well attested by Powel and other authors to be denied, but Pennant is incorrect, when he says he had but one eye, an as we should give even the devil his due, he is equally mistaken, when he tells us that Glyndwr was his prince or his brother-in-law; he owed him no allegiance, nor was he in anywise of affinity or connected with him: his journey to Machynlleth, therefor , must have been to offer assistance and not to do homage. Sir David Gam married a daughter of a gentleman of considerable landed property, resident in Elvel, on the banks of the Wye, in Radnorshire; Glyndwr's wife was a daughter of the Sir David Hanmer, whose only sister, Morfydd, married David ap Ednyfed Gam, a North Wales nobleman, descended from Tudor Trevor. The courage of Sir David Gam is unquestionable, yet Mr. Pennant was wrong when for that reason he suppose him to fit instrument for the purpose of assassination, and though Sir David was prevailed upon to debase himself by his dark design, in general a brave man, who trembles only at the thoughts of cowardly act, is very ill calculated to assist in the perpetration of a midnight murder.
More About Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir: Record Change: February 03, 2001
Children of Dafydd 'Gam' ap Llewelyn Sir and Gwenllian verch Gwilym are: